Switching Places, from the series Dream House, 2006. From Anna & Eve 2005-2010. © Viktoria Sorochinski.
There's a peculiar sense of role reversal in the mother and daughter relationship that is captured by Viktoria Sorochinski, who uses Russian mythology to explore their imaginary world.
"When I met Anna and Eve back in 2005, I was intrigued by the unusual and intense dynamic of their relationship," says Viktoria Sorochinski.
"Three-year-old Eve was surprisingly mature but her mother, Anna, who was 23, seemed very childlike. They were both learning from each other, and at times it was hard to tell who held the balance of power."
Sorochinski, at the time a fine-arts student at Concordia University in Montreal, started to photograph the mother and daughter for a project that's lasted five years so far, and which has survived Sorochinski's subsequent move to New York.
Posing her subjects and using fantastical settings and costumes, she illustrates their intense imaginary world and the close relationship between them, in images that draw on their shared knowledge of Eastern European fairytales.
Born in Soviet-era Ukraine in 1979 and living in North Russia until she was 11, Sorochinski says Russian culture had a major impact on her perception of the world, and helped her bond with Anna and Eve.
"Anna and I were both born in the ex-USSR in the same period - in fact, we were born in the same month," she says.
"That certainly allowed deeper closeness and understanding between us. I wouldn't say my work is particularly motivated by my Russian origins, but I could probably say that the way I handle my projects has something to do with it. The myths I used in the earlier series with Anna and Eve were certainly rooted in my own childhood memories."
Sorochinski has shot four different chapters with Anna and Eve and, more recently, one with Eve alone marking the child's burgeoning independence. She hopes to continue the piece indefinitely, fitting it in alongside other projects, but she has also shown the work so far in several shows.
Sorochinski is interested to see the reaction to her work in Europe as, despite the fact that she's lived in North America since her family left Russia, she feels her work remains European at heart.
"Without wanting to generalise, it seems to me that American contemporary art is very cerebral in its core, while European - especially Eastern European - work is based more on intuition and feelings. I tend to work first from the heart and not from the mind, so even though I have developed as an artist in America and Canada, I always feel a big gap in the basic approach to image making. But I don't want to criticise American or Canadian art - I'm just embracing these differences and trying to keep up with my own voice even when I don't feel I fit in."
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